Hello, this is Jennifer! This week, we finally bring to you our special post we’ve been hinting about! Once again, many apologies for not posting for a little bit. These last few weeks of school have been and will be kicking me in the butt and I’m sure Corynn’s butt is being kicked as well. I’m definitely glad to be in the swing of things again, so look out for new posts every week again.
In honor of National Sourdough Bread day a few weeks ago, we thought we would finally release the post everyone has been waiting so patiently for. Corynn and I have a friend here at APU named Tim. If any of you know him, you know that he is a master sourdough baker.
Tim reached out to us and told us he’d teach us how to make sourdough bread. Corynn and I were so excited. And I mean SO excited. Now, because sourdough is a pretty complex project, this post is not a recipe, but a recollection of our experience that day.
It was a pretty rainy day, so when I went over to his apartment I immediately felt warm and cozy. I thought his heater was on but it turns out it was actually his oven turned up to 500 degrees. (*Note: I said ‘I’ because Corynn is always late but we still love her) He had everything set up for us on his dining table and so Tim got me started on my very own loaf! He had me measure water and flour into a bowl for the autolyse stage.
Then we waited. As it turns out, making bread is just a whole lot of waiting, still very exciting of course. In the mean time, Corynn finally got her butt across campus and into Tim’s makeshift bakery… also known as his kitchen. Corynn got started on her loaf and while we waited, we just hung out and chatted. The next stage was adding the starter and salt.
Starter is a mixture of water and wheat flour which then becomes a natural yeast. Let me just say, making your own starter is one heck of a process. After the whole experience with Tim, I was inspired to get on the homemade sourdough train, so I researched and began making my own jar of starter. It requires a lot of love and care… like almost as much love and care as you would give a child probably… I mean I’m no parent, but I think it is safe to assume. When you’re first starting out, you have to feed your starter about twice a day. That whole process requires you to dump out a great portion of the flour and water goop and add more water and flour.
Back to bread. Now after adding the starter and salt, the next step is a series of stretches and folds. I guess you could say it’s yoga for the dough… Dough-ga…? Ah never mind. So throughout a period of a few hours, you have to grab your dough and stretch it out and fold it over itself. This happens every 30-45 minutes or so (If I’m being honest, I can’t remember how long in between).
But, in the mean time is a lot of waiting. In that time, Tim showed us his cookbooks about bread and another on fermentation by René Redzepi, who just so happens to be my all time favorite chef. I just want to say I was so excited when he pulled out that book because I recognized it immediately. We also watched Youtube videos of cute elderly Japanese women being interviewed about traditional dishes they make.
Tim also had prepared a few loaves for us to bake and eat while we were at his apartment. Corynn and I learned about how to finish off the loaf and the baking process. It was one heck of a wholesome experience and it makes me happy to think about the beautiful loaf I made and handed off to my family to inhale. I went back home and stole the second Le Creuset dutch oven in the Kishi household.
This weekend, I just tried to bake a loaf myself for the very first time. Unfortunately, it was dense and the crumb made me sad to look at. Maybe I didn’t stretch and fold enough, or my starter wasn’t quite ready for me. BUT, the outside was beautiful and it tasted good! I’ll be trying again soon. Thanks for reading!